The Religious News Service records, circa 1930s-1983, includes news releases, photographic prints, photographic negatives, press clippings, articles, and other materials produced and/or disseminated by the Religious News Service (RNS). The records document the history of Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Eastern Orthodox religion in the United States and around the world. The bulk of the materials pertain to Protestant and Catholic communities, although attention is also given to Jewish and Eastern Orthodox groups. The records chronicle the "purely religious" activities of religious groups and personalities—gatherings, conferences, public speaking engagements, mergers, programs, institutions, and the like—as well as the intersections of religion and politics, society, and culture, both in the United States and abroad. Additionally, the collection itself stands as a marker of the media's representation of twentieth century American religious beliefs, values, and practices. Thus, researchers interested in American religious history, the relationship between religion and politics/society/culture, and the media's representation of religion in the twentieth century will find this collection useful.
The Religious News Service records are divided into the following record groups:
RNS RG 1: Photographs, 1945-1982
RNS RG 2: News Releases, 1936-1981
RNS RG 3: Subject Files, circa 1930s-1983
RNS RG 4: Administrative Files, 1940s-1960s
RNS RG 4, Administrative Files, 1940s-1960s, includes materials related to the organizational operations of the Religious News Service (RNS). Materials include articles and advertisements about RNS in magazines (like Time, Christian Herald, Harper's, and others), newspapers, and church/denominational periodicals; instruction sheets for photographers and correspondents; newsletters to correspondents with instructions about desired coverage, updates about RNS services/output, and lists of RNS subscriber periodicals; and a report describing the various materials published by RNS (daily services, photographs, "Religion in Review," "Religious Remarkables," etc.). This record group is arranged alphabetically by file title, then chronologically into one series.